Mairtin O Muilleoir the Sinn Fein politician and publisher of the New York-based Irish Echo is the new Lord Mayor of Belfast.

The Balmoral area councillor was elected at Monday’s annual general meeting of Belfast City Council.

A prominent businessman, he said: “I’m very privileged to be the new Lord Mayor of the great city of Belfast.”

He stated that one of his priorities would be to restart American investment efforts for Belfast. he said a major effort would be made to invite American business delegations.

The BBC reports that the 53-year-old Ó Muilleoir is the managing director of the Belfast Media Group and the publisher of the Irish Echo in New York.

The Sinn Fein council has confirmed that he will step down from his business interests for the duration of his term as Lord Mayor.

He added: “I am picking up from Gavin Robinson of the DUP, who has had a great year in office.
“In the year ahead, I want the help of all our citizens to make Belfast better. My theme for my year in office will be ‘Building the future Belfast - together’.

“First and foremost, that means building the peace and working hard to bring our sometimes divided people together. It also means striving to create jobs and doing all I can to help put the city’s economy back on track.

“And of course in all our work we have to ensure that our working class communities enjoy a greater share of the peace dividend.”

Ó Muilleoir previously served on the council from 1987 to 1997, before quitting politics to go into business.